Provincial Superior's Circular 2020 N. 5
Circular No.5 December 27, 2020
Feast of the Holy Family
Greetings of peace and joy from our community in Davao City!
Today, we commemorate the liturgical celebration honoring the family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph for whom, through Simeon, was revealed an unsettling prophecy to Mary: “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted – and you yourself a sword will pierce – so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed (Lk. 2, 34-35).” Even without full understanding of these words, Joseph and Mary continued to trust in God and fulfilled their mission to take care the child “to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem (Lk 2, 38).”
Mary is the forebear of “all those unknown or forgotten women who, each in her own way, sustained and transformed families and communities by the power of their witness (Pope Francis, Gaudete et Exultate).” Joseph on the other hand is “the father in the shadows” (Pope Francis, Patris Corde) who witnessed to the great virtue of being a silent worker and collaborator in God’s work of redemption. And Jesus is truly an incarnation of the loving, merciful and compassionate God-with-us particularly at this present time of global crisis.
In the Philippines, we have opened the 2021 Year of Missio Ad Gentes with the theme: "Becoming Jesus’ Missionary Disciples" last November 29, in preparation for the celebration of the 500 years of Faith. Pope Francis in Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel) “invites all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ (EG 3).” He also reminds us that every Christian is a missionary to the extent that he or she has encountered the love of God in Christ Jesus: we no longer say that we are “disciples and missionaries” but rather that we are always missionary disciples (EG 120).
The word “encounter” is central to the way our Pope thinks of Christian relationships. He encourages the faithful to be fearless in looking beyond their needs and wants for the sake of others. He says that “in this ‘stepping out’ [of ourselves] it is important to be ready for encounter. Christians encounter other people in their imitation of Christ, but more than that, the disciple encounters other people as a response to having encountered Christ first. The Pope has spoken of a Culture of Encounter as a goal for human society. A society that espouses a Culture of Encounter facilitates right relationship among humans and involves a spirituality that emphasizes a personal friendship with God who first encounters us in love.
As we prepare ourselves to encounter and fully embrace the ‘new normal’ brought by the pandemic, we never cease to count our blessings and start anew our journey with joy and gratitude in our hearts. We thank God for the gift of our PDDM vocations: a) for Novices Carolette and Teresa who are preparing for their first profession on February 10, 2021; b) for Sr. M. Jessiebel, Sr. M. Cheryl and Sr. M. Lixia (in Rome) who will renew their religious vows on the same date. Let us pray for Sr. M. Lixia who is waiting for authorization from the Philippine Bureau of Immigration and the Department of Foreign Affairs to re-enter the Philippines soon.
We are also happy to share with you the new initiatives of our Province, which we shall be launching soon, in response to the challenges of the global crisis that confronts us:
- The PDDM PTH (Digital Apostolate) which shall offer online formation and catechesis on Liturgy, Spirituality, Scriptures, Culture, Youth and Vocations, Arts and Music, etc. using the social media of communication: Youtube and Facebook;
- The PDDM Alberione Center as a Referral Center for RTPCR or Swab Testing for all religious and priests particularly for missionaries who will be travelling. We shall be collaborating with Lung Center of the Philippines as Referral Testing (Laboratory) Center, and request the AMRSP (Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines) and the CBCP (Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines) for endorsement.
I wish to thank all of you for your openness and generosity during this time of transition in spite of the restrictions of moving and travelling.
For the celebration of the Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord on January 3, 2021, may I encourage each community to look beyond our own needs and wants, and continue organizing an outreach activity to manifest God’s loving presence to our less fortunate brothers and sisters. You may want to share your personal blessings to contribute to this work of love.
May God continue to bless us and guide us to imitate the Holy Family in practicing the virtues of community life and the bonds of charity.
A blessed celebration of the Christmas season!
Sr. Mary Anthony E. Basa